Do you have what it takes to be a coaching leader? A coaching leader is someone who encourages another person to identify his or her goals, discover the resources available to pursue those goals, develop action plans together, and then walk along beside that person in the process of achieving the person’s goals. A coaching leader can apply these skills in working with groups and teams as well, multiplying his or her impact as a coach by including others in the process.
A coaching leader is strong in the elements that Daniel Goleman attributes to emotional intelligence:
- Social skills.
These are skills that can be learned once a person understands his or her own emotional intelligence profile. The more that you, as a leader, can manage each of these areas, the higher your emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is essential to be an effective coaching leader.
These skills influence the qualities that make a good coaching leader.
First, a coaching leader possesses self-knowledge and uses it effectively. The coaching leader understands his or her strengths and limitations, knowing how to use those strengths as well as minimize limitations. By doing so, the coach sets boundaries for herself or himself so that the coaching leader’s own personality enhances rather impeding the coaching relationship.
Second, the coaching leader sees the best in others. The coaching leader is always looking for the potential in the other person, believing it is there until it manifests itself. If the coaching leader is a Christian that understanding is based on seeing each person as made in the image of God.
Third, a coaching leader is patient, exercising self-control. The coaching leader is willing to listen and reflect rather than give answers. He or she manages the process rather than the agenda. This requires both empathic and engaged listening.
Fourth, the coaching leader exercises his or her curiosity not simply for information but to empower the person being coached to dig deeper into his or her own resources and abilities. Using powerful questions, the coach helps the person being coached enter into dialogue with himself or herself.
Five, a coaching leader is proactive, taking the initiative to push the person being coached onward and modeling forward movement.
Finally, the coaching leader has the heart of a teacher. The teaching model is the “guide by the side” rather than the “sage on the stage.” The coaching leader’s goal is to draw out rather than pour in.
Every organization will become stronger, more productive, and more sustainable if it encourages its leaders to use coaching principles with individuals, groups, and teams.